Have you ever had a need to get away? Not from anything in particular, but everything in general. Life, sometimes can just come crashing down around you, and you aren’t comfortable in your own skin. I find that when I become anxious for no particular reason, and I tend to want to snap at those around me for simply being there, it’s time for a road trip. I don’t have a plan or a destination in mind; just to leave … and get away for a few hours to blow off the stink of the mood which has me tide up in a frustrated knot of complete dissatisfaction, and general mean spirited aggression.
I suppose it’s a feeling akin to cabin fever, only it is life that has me locked in. So I throw some incidentals in my purse, jot a quick note to my husband, turn out the lights around the apartment and head for the door. A quick jolt of guilt stops me with my hand on the door knob, the house is a mess, and I have to find those damn insurance papers, I have a paper to write and …I quickly silence that voice that is my conscience reminding me of what I should do, because I am a mature responsible adult that has obligations and responsibilities, blah, blah, blah. I am not feeling very reasonable or compliant with the rules of domesticity, just now. Rather I am angry at having felt that guilt to begin with, which helps me to open that front door and step out into the painfully bright light of day.
After I lock the door I all but run to the car, unlock it and get behind the wheel throwing my purse in the passenger seat beside me. I sit momentarily after starting the car, my heart is in my throat, and I feel as if I were fleeing the scene of a crime. I realize the ridiculousness of it and almost laugh, that little voice chimes in again with all those little concerns; “Did I lock the door? Turn off the T.V.? What about the coffee pot?” Slowly, as if the distance I am putting between my self and my home were a volume control for my conscience the voice quiets. I know I will need gas, but I can’t stop yet, I need to put more distance between me and what ever has me running away.
I hit the highway and turn the radio on, surf through the channels until I find a song that suits my mood; “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. (Oh yeah, that works) After I lower all the windows, I light a cigarette and take a long hard pull, letting the smoke fill my lungs and feeling the loosening of that tight knot in my gut, as I exhale and expel the smoke, I held just a little too long. The death grip I have on the wheel loosens to white knuckle and I drive.
I am heading south, as good a direction as any I suppose, the traffic seems to be thinning and the music is good, the song “Radar Love” has me pressing the accelerator down bringing my speed up to an respectable, however illegal cruising speed of 85. The signs on the side of the road giving motorist a heads up as to which exits have what amenities, are not nearly as interesting to me, as the signs telling how far it is to the next town. I am beginning to feel that pleasant sense of numb that comes after the shock of adrenaline, I feel when I am in “Flight Mode”; I have always had it in me, My father used to refer to it as “White Line Fever”. A restlessness that overcomes me as well as others of my clan that makes it difficult to be happy in one place for long periods of time, It is rumored to be a malady that affects only the males of the family. Well, I put that theory to the test very early on in my youth, I was more inclined to believe I was switched at birth, and somewhere out there, was a gypsy family with a red headed Irish girl who wants nothing more than to settle down somewhere.
After a couple of hours of driving I pull into a gas station off the highway, the temperature has dropped so I reach into the back of my car and pull out my work coat, and fill my tank. I am stiff and oddly at peace, I have no idea where I am, and know that I can turn around now and head home. I always knew I would, I just needed to escape the routine and responsibility of being all those things I am everyday, to reconnect with me, away from everything and everyone that is dependent on the things I do, not who I am. I love my life and those with whom I share it. But sometimes, I just need to get away and find the peace of my own company, in a place I’ve never been.